Sunday scenery and cooking

October 30, 2011

Just a gratuitous pretty picture. Because it was pretty today. You're welcome.

It has been an absolutely gorgeous fall day here in and about Hot Springs, and I celebrated it early by getting out to take early morning pix. The fall colors have really come on since last weekend, and I think will peak about the middle or end of this week, if we don’t get a hard rain.

So I hit the road about 7 a.m. to take pictures — had a minor meltdown because the Corps of Engineers has closed the road to the top of Blakeley Mountain Dam, one of the prettiest places in Arkansas, because of the 9/11 terrorist threat (Seriously? Uhhhhh…check the calendar. Come and gone, folks. Open the damn road!), but I made up for it by doing some exploring, as in “H’mm. Wonder where this road goes?”

And I wound up at Kroger three and a half hours later, grocery shopping, and forgot for the third week in a row to get kosher salt. Go figure. Well, I have regular iodized salt, and sea salt, so we shall not go unsalted here at Chez Brockwell. And I came home and I baked a frozen-and-forgotten-about pan of cheese and sausage bread that I’d laid out to thaw before heading out on my photo expedition, and baked it while I put groceries away and started a batch of butternut squash rye bread, for which I’d made the sponge last night. Had that with onion jam for a delightful brunch.

Found-in-freezer bread, byproduct onion jam. Life is full of serendipity.

Stopped off at Burl’s Country Smokehouse out on Highway 270 about 8:30 a.m. because I was commencing to get hungry. I got a Diet Coke and some peanut brittle and a couple of beef sticks. Breakfast of champions. The beef sticks are pretty peppery and really, really smoky. I ate half of one (they’re pretty big beef sticks), and think I’ll save the rest for cutting up and putting in some pasta e lenticche soup later this week. Also picked up some pastrami and some smoked Swiss, mostly because I’ve never had smoked Swiss before, and I figure I’ll see how that tastes one day this week for lunch. Like maybe tomorrow.

Picked up an eye of round roast at Kroger; that’s marinating in Caribbean Jerk marinade (KC Masterpiece, and just because I had an urge) with meat tenderizer, and it’ll go in the oven after while. I’m making mac and cheese and maybe some roasted zucchini to go with that. I’m going to try my hand at roasting that baby medium rare; wish me luck.

Just a nice comfort food dinner. Quick and easy, too.

Jumping to yet another subject — I’m a bit disjointed today — dinner last night wasn’t half bad. I cooked the rest of the ricotta gnocchi I’d made and frozen a while back, and floated them like dumplings in butternut squash soup, which was going to be butternut squash sauce but, well, I got it too thin. Anyway, it was good, with some Parmigiano grated on top of it. The soup/sauce was simplicity itself; roasted butternut squash (about a cup worth of pulp), a sauteed onion and about four cloves of garlic, two cups of chicken broth, two  ounces of goat cheese. Could’ve stood some cream, but, oh well. I used my stick blender to smooth it all out. I just boiled the gnocchi and then sauteed ’em in a little butter. Pretty sporty.

To come this week: The aforementioned soup. My maiden voyage at pate de campagne; bought country style ribs to grind up, along with chicken livers, as I could not find pork liver. I think I have cognac; need to check. Going to fire up the grill one night and grill some of that bologna and the bratwurst from the farm,  although that probably won’t come until Friday. Maybe chicken pot pie one night; I have the makings. Maybe chicken enchiladas another night; have the makings for that, too.

You and y’mama ‘n ’em need to plan a road trip to the Spa City here before the colors are gone. Holla. I’ll cook for you!

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